Yorkshire Terriers


Yorkshire Terriers

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Breed Notes:

The Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie, was created by the weavers of Scotland who brought him to the Yorkshire district of England in the 1850s. His ancestry is the mixture of various other terrier breeds. He became a fashionable pet during the Victorian era of the late 1800s. He was originally called Broken-haired Scottish Terriers. He was introduced to the United States in 1880.
The Yorkie is a toy-sized dog with a terrier spirit. He has a spirited, sparkling character. He is not intimidated by larger dogs or by intruders into the home. He makes a fine watchdog and a loving pet. Because his coat is silky and fine, it does require routine attention.
The Yorkie is a small dog with long hair. His head is small and rather flat on top. His bite is level or scissors. His eyes are medium sized and dark in color. The ears are small, v-shaped and held erect. The body is well proportioned and compact. The back is short with a level topline. The legs are straight. The tail is docked to medium length and well covered with hair. It is carried a little higher than level to the back. The coat is glossy, fine and silky. The body hair is moderately long and straight. The hair on the head is long and tied with a bow above the head. The hair on the muzzle is very long. Coat color is dark steel-blue with tan markings on the head and legs. The weight of the dog must not exceed seven pounds while the height may be between six and seven inches at the withers.


tshumsky805@charter.net of Paso Robles, CA writes:

Breed specific genetic problems &shyp; liver shunt.
Permission has been given to me by Dr. Tobias to quote the following:
I have been asked to submit information to you regarding heritability of single congenital extrahepatic portosystemic shunts in dogs. I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with a Master of Science in Veterinary Surgery and am a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. I have studied congenital portosystemic shunts since 1986 and have written many research articles, review papers, and textbook chapters on the subject.
Recently we completed two epidemiologic studies on dogs with shunts by reviewing over 1.3 million records of dogs admitted to 24 veterinary teaching hospitals over a 20-year period. In those studies we found the following:
1. Of all dogs presented with congenital shunts, 20% were Yorkshire Terriers.
2. Annual proportion of all dogs diagnosed with congenital portosystemic shunt was 0.5% in 2000 while the proportion was 7% for Yorkshire Terriers.
3. The risk of a Yorkshire Terrier having a congenital shunt was 58.7 times greater than that of mixed breed dogs and 35.9 times greater than all other breeds combined.
4. The incidence of congenital shunts increased eleven-fold in the Yorkshire Terrier population over ten years while increasing six-fold in all other breeds combined.
In the research papers we noted the following: "In general, a genetic contribution to disease expression is suspected when the reported frequency is higher in one breed than in others; when environmental factors common to members of the breed are insufficient to account for the observed differences in frequency; and when the same, or a very similar, disorder is proven inherited in another species of animal or in humans. Through prevalence studies and evaluation of family groups, single congenital portosystemic shunts, or closely related diseases such as microvascular dysplasia, have been shown to be hereditary in Yorkshire Terriers, Irish Wolfhounds, Cairn Terriers, and humans and are therefore likely to be hereditary in other breeds with high prevalence. Heredity is also considered a risk factor for an intrahepatic vascular anomaly resulting in development of multiple extrahepatic shunts in a family of American Cocker Spaniels. Besides heredity, no other risk factors for development of CPSS have been reported in dogs."
Based on our research, we feel confident that single congenital extrahepatic shunt is a hereditary condition in Yorkshire Terriers. Please contact me if you have further questions. Karen Tobias, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS, Associate Professor, Small Animal Surgery. Submitted for Dr. Karen Tobias by Terri Shumsky.


SAHMRM@aol.com of Chicago, IL writes:

Sweetest dogs ever.
Our Yorkies are nine and eleven, and are the joy of my life. They are very smart and cuddly dogs. They can be fiesty at times but in a playful way. They each have there own unique personalities. They are so cute and train so easily. They are very well-behaved and hardly ever bark. We treat ours like babies and they still think they are puppies. I would not recommend around small children, they are very afraid of kids and for good reason, kids try to pick up and manhandle them and it scares this small breed.


tlkn_now@yahoo.com of U.S. writes:

Caring dog that will be a good companion.
The Yorkie is a great dog, the only problems you may have is they are a cuddly dog and would rather sit on the couch and cuddle up with you rather than going outside to play. I have raised, bred, and loved Yorkies my whole life. They are a perfect dog if you have a child; most people think that they do not get along with children but it all depends how long they have been with children. If you have had a child as long or longer than you have had the Yorkie then they should get along great and be awesome companions!


Name withheld by request of Houston, TX writes:

Loving little friends.
Not too long ago I began dating a woman who is now my wife. She had a little Yorkie. I couldn't stand this dog. It was so loyal and such a lap dog, I could not even get the dog to come to me when I called him. He stayed in his mommy's lap all the time. If she went somewhere, he would sit by the door and wait until she would return. I had a predisposition to ignore the little fella because I don't like little dogs. However, over the course of time we warmed up to each other. Now I can't put the little guy down. We take rides in the car around the neighborhood. I tuck him in my coat to go shopping. He fetches better than most any Labrador. He will fetch his toys for hours. If someone wanted one of these little dogs, but did not like all that hair, don't worry. I give ours a little military cut every summer. He gets his hair cut to about an inch long all over his body except his face. We trim up his face so he has a little spike haircut. It takes about a year to grow out so he never gets too shaggy. He essentially looks like a puppy all the time with the short hair. This breed is wonderful to baby. They allow you to brush their teeth, bathe them, pick them up whenever you want, wipe their eyes, or whatever. They have such a big heart. All they want to do is be near people and their masters. My wife will lay on the couch and he will curl up on her legs or on her stomach. I believe the reason these dogs are rated so high is because of their big heart. Fair warning though, these dogs require lots of attention. Don't get one for your two-year-old to grab at or just because you are temporarily in the mood for a pet. Offer them a loving home and attention and you will have a wonderful friend.


lori.ross@cox.net of Oklahoma writes:

I absolutely adore my Yorkies.
I, without a doubt, with a smile on my face, am absolutely, positively devoted to my Yorkies. I have a five-year old and a two-year old. These two little characters can make me smile even when I'm at work and think about their little faces and shenanigans. I bought one for my daughter and grandson and they adore her as well. I wouldn't trade "my girls" for anything. The smaller one has to sleep under the covers tucked up by my stomach and the oldest has to be on the pillow next to my head. They have jealousy issues between them at times which break my heart but mostly they are the light of my life and my FAVORITE breed of dog.


irishmaryclaire@aol.com of St. Louis, MO writes:

I have a Yorkie addiction.
I am currently owned by three spoiled little boy Yorkies. Yorkies are very caring and loving little dogs. I like to refer to them as babies because it is easy to treat them as such. There is nothing like coming home to their little faces and getting all those kisses. Whatever problems you had at work seem to disappear. They are very cheap to feed. Once you get one Yorkie without a doubt
you will get a second. I have always had big dogs growing up (Labs and Golden Retrievers). I bought my first Yorkie three years ago and since have purchased two more. I have a Yorkie addiction. In my book, they are the perfect dog!


Name withheld by request of Iowa writes:

Exceptional Toy breed for companionship.
These petite balls of fur make excellent companions in big spaces as well as small. My three-pound Yorkie is intelligent, loving, afraid of nothing, and certainly lets me know when she wants attention! They are somewhat vocal, or perhaps it's just mine that chooses to yip-yap! However, her personality far outweighs her barking from time to time. Very endearing little dogs. Grooming required periodically if not shown in conformation. Good eater; very healthy breed. She's a joy; good traveler; loves the car and is very well behaved and content, especially when she is with her family.


Name withheld by request of Alaska writes:

I love this breed for their loving personality and feistiness.
Yorkies are a big dog in a little body. They are smart, but a true Terrier in that they can be a bit hardheaded. Mine are very sweet and loving, eager to please as well as give their love. I chose this breed because I can enjoy them in the home and they are easy to care for.


mrsforti@hotmail.com of the Midwest writes:

Why we love our Yorkie ...
He is smart and sweet and while he is stubborn he still wants to please us. With training and consistency they catch on well. Ours is very young but is very trainable. He can sit, shake and roll over. Potty training isn't too hard with consistency. They have small bladders, and need to go out frequently, especially when they are young. They are alert. They have a very sweet personality and love to play, cuddle and give kisses. You do need to have patience, though, and do some research to make sure it is the dog for you.


fwdelicate@aol.com of Denver, CO writes:

Not for everyone &shyp; seemingly born spoiled; very smart.
First of all, I want to say that I am not a person who knows nothing about dogs. I have owned several dogs (different breeds), and have read just about every book ever written on dog behavior. In fact, I even considered writing a book about dog training. But after my experience with a little Yorkie, I have given up that idea!
I have known two Yorkies in my life: my sister's little female (who was a sweet little angel), and my unbelieveably stubborn male (whom I got because I just loved my sister's little angel). I honestly think my sister had the exception to the breed, because my male is a true Terrier. For such a little squirt, I have never before run across a more dominant, stubborn, generally resistant little dog. This dog seems to have been born spoiled. So, contrary to what I've often read, these dogs are NOT for just anyone. If you are wanting to spoil them, and you don't mind when they become bratty, pushy, demanding and whiney because of it, then you're probably the ideal Yorkie owner. If you don't mind a stubborn dog, and don't necessarily want to teach it anything, then again, you are the ideal Yorkie owner.
However, if you're like me, and you think a dog should actually have to learn something and listen to you, then you probably won't like a Yorkie. It's not that they're not smart &shyp; just exactly the opposite, in fact. They're smart enough to know what you want and try to get out of it! I can't tell you how frustrating it is to know a dog is intelligent and to also know that it's resisting you, not because it CAN'T do what you're asking, but just because it doesn't WANT to do whatever you're asking of it.
Now, don't be put off. These dogs are not without their charms. My Yorkie actually house-trained pretty easy with the use of a cat's litterbox. I think this may be easier to them than having to go outside, for some reason. They are also easily portable and generally easy (and really cheap) to keep. They can be extremely loving, too, as long as you're not asking anything of them. Generally, it's a fine little dog if you want to simply spoil it. Not a dog for the person who expects instant and consistent obedience, though.


lanie3@earthlink.net of Connecticut writes on 9/27/00:

A great dog.
I have always owned mutts, but after the death of my last dog, I decided to do some research on breeds and after tons of reading and visiting, I decided on the Yorkshire Terrier. I had no small children anymore, one old cat, a small house and fenced back yard. We found a wonderful breeder, who had just the guy for us. If you are researching, too, please go only to a breeder! It's the personality that will get you. My 19 year old son, the tough guy, is an absolute baby with the dog. They roll and tumble and fetch and play with great abandon, like two puppies! Our odg is a joy and a comfort. I am not the most outgoing person, but our dog draws out my best, and isn't that what you wish for in a dog? My husband adores him and spoils him. We have trained him in obedience, and I think it's essential. Well behaved dogs are easy to take anywhere. My Yorkie is a little shy, which surprised me ... therefore we are getting a second Yorkie, or possibly a Chin, so he has a buddy and a pal for that slimy little ball he loves to play with. I am incredibly pleased with my chioce in a Yorkie. You can take him for a long walk, and he's also happy with a quick one, as long as it's your attention he is getting. Not a yapper, but lets me know whos around. Goes to all my daughter's basketball games in a soft carrier, no one knows he's there! Doesn't eat much, but loves a little people food, carrots are fun. A great dog for our family, and loved by all of us.


mysticmists@home.com of British Columbia, Canada writes on 8/26/00:

They'll spoil you for anything else.
Yorkies are one of the most intelligent dogs I've found. They are easily trained but often are smart enough to make their owner think they're dumb. Never let a yorkie see you do something that you don't want him to see. We've been breeding Yorkies for some time now and you can actually see their little brains work. We've taught them to ring a bell when they want to go outside, fetch and do tricks. They're so eager to please that they'll pick things up quickly and REMEMBER them. One dog we sold to friends of ours still comes to visit us. After two years he still knows where we used to hide his toys when we were tired of playing fetch. I've seen dogs hide toys that they don't want the others to get and I've seen them problem solve when we've given them obstacles. They are true terriers, however, and will take advantage of an owner who lets them get away with non-obedience. You must always have the last word with a yorkie. We keep all our dogs in the house as pets and they are tolerant of new additions and very gentle with puppies. We take them everywhere and have had them crawl into strange laps on their way to the show ring. If there's a lap in reach, they believe they should be in it. These are the happiest, bravest, most alert and most loving dogs I've met and once you've owned a yorkie you won't want anything else


dog.star@mailcity.com of Deaver, WY writes on 6/13/00:

They are feisty, charming, and require a commitment to grooming.
I considered myself a "big dog" person until I met up with a little street urchin. At seventeen pounds, he was far too large for the breed standard, and had been given away by the breeder.
To appreciate a Yorkie, it is necessary to understand that they are terriers (earth dogs) and as such they have all the spunk and fearlessness of much larger dogs. They have a complete unawareness of their diminutive size, and they don't hesitate to challenge other dogs, no matter how large.
My Yorkie once charged an American Pit Bull Terrier, who fled in terror - I think he was so surprised he didn't know what to do. Later, he pounced at our newly rescued American Bulldog in a dominance display (paws up on the other dog's shoulder, tail stiff), at which time the American Bulldog soundly thrashed him. I was fortunate to be on hand, or he might have ended up as a snack! Yorkies have the terrier tendency to chase anything that moves: cats, chickens, mice, you name it. Yorkies are easily socialized with cats, although they may have conflicts with other dogs. He seems to enjoy chasing the chickens just to see them flap around and hear them cackle - he doesn't ever seem serious about catching any.
A friend of mine who has four Yorkies, all under six pounds, reports that they frequently fight with each other and have to be doused with water to stop them. Because of their style of fighting, repeated snaps and bites rather than grab-and-hold, they have the potential to injure each other, usually around the eyes and lips. I don't mean to imply that Yorkies are aggressive, but they are very self-important and can easily get into misunderstandings with other dogs -- even dogs in their own family pack. They are sometimes intolerant of young children and may snap at them, but children who have been taught to behave appropriately around dogs should have no problem at all. He likes to go fishing with my 10-year-old stepson, and follows him everywhere.
Yorkies are a "single-coated" breed, which means that they don't have an undercoat to protect them from the cold. They shed almost not at all. Conversely, the long coat becomes a liability in the summer, and a Yorkie can easily get overheated. The lovely long flowing coats we see in shows and on dog calendars are the result of constant grooming, excellent quality feeding, and adequate exercise. A Yorkie who's a pet rather than a show dog will do well being clipped in summer and brushed daily in winter. I have found that while he is fairly intolerant of cold, he does fine with short, frequent trips outside to relieve himself and run around in cold weather. And he doesn't have any of those cute little sweaters, either. A city dweller who takes his or her Yorkie on extended walks in inclement weather would be well advised to protect the dog with a little coat of some kind.
A Yorkie is a delightfully portable dog, and is usually happy to be carried around. Like most dogs, he likes nothing better than to get in the car and stick his head out the window -- though one should be very careful not to allow them enough space to fall or jump out. True to their terrier nature, they are very instinct driven and are not particularly obedient when something has captured their attention. For this reason, a leash is necessary whnever the dog is anywhere with potential hazards. If there is trouble to be found, these tiny terriers will find it.
Despite the elegant coat and endearing round black eyes, the Yorkie isn't just an ornament -- he's a real, if tiny, dog - with most of the typical behaviors that dogs have such as rolling in foul-smelling stuff, swimming (they're wonderful and enthusiastic swimmers), getting muddy and eating yucky things. I think our dog's hearing is the most acute of any dog I've known. Yorkies do bark a lot, sometimes I think just to hear themselves make noise. They are excellent watchdogs, as they are hyperalert and usually don't miss anything. Like any dog, a Yorkie can't be left alone for extended periods, lest they become problem barkers or destructive chewers. They thrive on activity and inclusion in the family. I think an appropriate summary would be that a Yorkshire Terrier is a big dog in a little package. Their heart and charm, even their innate stubbornness, make for a dog that is larger than life.


fbolles@aol.com of Ohio writes on 12/27/99:

Great family dog.
We have a "large" Yorkie (22 lbs). He was a delightful puppy, chewed up very few items as long as we remembered to give him plenty of toys and bones. This breed is happy, playful, loving. Their fur needs to be brushed often but they do not shed very much. His hair does not come off on clothes and furniture but I will find small "dust bunnies" of his hair hiding on the floor. I'm not sure where it comes from! He is a professional greeter and can make your day when you get home!


Name withheld by request of Colorado writes on 11/11/99:

Fun little dog!
My Yorkies have been great fun in little packages. You need to be extremely careful in supervising their interactions with other dogs because they seem to think they are Rottweilers. They will aggressively defend their territories without backing down and because they are so small it is easy for a larger dog to hurt or kill them. While they love a warm lap they tend to be independant and have the terrier temperament. They will benefit from training but will not be the top dog in obedience class, tending to do only what they feel like doing. Not great with children which can be a problem since kids are drawn to them because of their size - this is more of a problem for the Yorkie than the child since even a serious bite from a Yorkie will not do much damage although they more often tend to a nip that will not break the skin. They are challenging to housebreak and I feel crate training is a must. Any illness tends to be exagerated because of their size - it is a must to get these dogs to a vet pronto. If they are sick -- a four/six pound dog can go downhill very fast! All that said, I wouldn't trade them for the world. Very portable, wonderful travellers, fun and feisty temperaments, great personalities, a lot of dog in a tiny body.


Rievaulx@excite.com of Arizona writes on 10/17/99:

A great breed but a true terrier!
The Yorkie is charming and intelligent, and despite its size, is full of courage, loyalty and affection. Although this breed is small it still retains the true terrier temperament. Yorkies are small enough to carry and are ideal for anyone with a small home or apartment. The Yorkie is happy to go on quite long walks, but is equally happy to run around a small garden or home, providing it has enough toys and distractions to occupy its lively mind. These are little dogs who think they are much bigger. They will defend their territory decisively. They have an acute sense of hearing and will alert their owners to the slightest sign of intruders. They can be very noisy, so consideration must be given to neighbours when considering this breed as a pet. They are also fearless and you need to protect them from themselves with larger animals even on walks!
Because they have a long coat, Yorkies are not suitable for anyone who does not have the time or inclination to spend on the grooming and bathing. Most pet owners find it too much and do in fact have their coats trimmed short or shaved. The Yorkie coat does shed but it is much like the human hair in that you will find a strand here and there. It does not have an undercoat which is great for some people with allergies (but this is not 100% a hypo-allergic dog), and for those who do not want a breed that has an annual blowing of the coat. As with most Toy breeds, Yorkies may have a tendency to tartar build-up on the teeth, but if regular attention is given to the teeth this should not be a serious problem. Yorkies are definitely not a breed to keep outside in a kennel. When going out in cold or wet weather they will appreciate a warm dog coat to wear. Yorkies eat very little, and are not expensive to feed.
Yorkies will live happily with cats and other dogs if brought up with them, but being terriers, they are also very possessive of their owners, so care should be taken when introducing this breed to a new animal household member. If they do fight, they can fight to the death. As with all small dogs, great care should be taken when allowing small children to handle them, as they are prone to jump from any height, and of course, being small, are more susceptible to accidents around the home, by way of careless human feet and the opening and closing of doors.
Yorkies are generally not easy to house train. It takes a lot of patience but can be done with persistence. For their own safety it is better to crate train them and to leave them in a crate when they are left alone, e.g. during the night or if their owners are out of the home. Obedience training is highly recommended for Yorkies. Yorkies are generally hardy and healthy and long-lived. Like many Toy breeds however, there is some incidence of heriditary/congenital disease in the form of patella luxation, open fontanellas, Perthe's disease and a smaller incidence of elongated soft palate and a tendency to collapsed trachea.


cliftonflyguy@webtv.net pf Victorville, CA writes on 10/10/99:

I'm a Yorkie fanatic and am owned by 2 of them!


nomoreann@aol.com of Michigan writes on 10/10/99:

Great dog for someone who has a lot of time for it
These are clever dogs, easily bored. They need a lot of interaction. If allowed they will rule all activities. Grooming must be done on a regular basis. Very loving and pretty little dogs. Some are barkers. The smaller ones are very scarie when they get sick. Things move very fast, a couple of times the little one has required medical threatment for a virus that just ran it's course in the larger dogs. Cheap to feed and little walking (all pluses for seniors)


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